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Vegard Pompey
02-02-2012, 12:46 PM
Being an enormous fan of the original Deus Ex and having heard Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines being called one of the best games in the same vein, I decided to give it a shot. I had quite high expectations - how can a game fanpatched all the way up to 7.9 not be amazing?

So with only a tiny bit of hassle, I get the game running on W7. There is some very sporadic crackling audio because my soundcard hates me with a burning passion, but it should be negligible if the game is good enough. However, I have never been so severely underwhelmed by a game's first hour and I need to know if there's any point in continuing. I will recount my experience with the game so far;

So I start it up. For a game that's supposed to be amazing, this is a really awful, tacky title screen. Ah well, it should be irrelevant if the game itself is good. Option screen uses an awful font and doesn't seem to display properly on my 1600x900 screen, with some text partially overlapped by borders. But again, this shouldn't be a problem if the game itself is good.

At least the character screen is compelling. Lots of options. Yum.

And then I start the game and witness one of the most awkward opening cutscenes I've ever seen. The animations are clunky. Why are the subtitles in the upper left corner of the screen, and why are they out of synch? What is that weird effect on that Prince guy's voice? Is it supposed to be reverb? It doesn't sound like reverb. Ok, now I get control of my character. I take two steps, and some hobo guy starts talking to me. And there's something wrong with his voice too, some effect that makes his voice sound distant even though he's right in front of me. Then I magically teleport to an apartment somewhere. That was odd.

I walk around Santa Monica aimlessly a bit. The horrible voices give me a headache. The interface isn't very good. I don't have much sense of direction. I enter some club and talk to some flirtatious female with generous cleavage who shares her first name with a girl I have a crush on. That's amusing.

I don't feel like playing another minute of this game, but I totally will give it another chance if I have reason to believe it gets better. Is it supposed to have the least impressive first hour ever or is it just me?

Grizzly
02-02-2012, 12:50 PM
how can a game fanpatched all the way up to 7.9 not be amazing?

I can exactly see how that can be :P.


Rest of post

I am sorry, but most of your stuff you said - Horrible voice acting, not so very good interface, and not so very good graphics/clunky animations, do sound exactly like the problems a lot of people might have with the original Deus Ex, if they'd play it, say, now.

Kelron
02-02-2012, 12:51 PM
I'm not a huge fan of it myself, but it sounds like you're judging a game known for its writing on the voice acting and graphics.

Vegard Pompey
02-02-2012, 12:54 PM
I am sorry, but most of your stuff you said - Horrible voice acting, not so very good interface, and not so very good graphics/clunky animations, do sound exactly like the problems a lot of people might have with the original Deus Ex, if they'd play it, say, now.

I love the voice acting in Deus Ex. It's one of the only voice-acted games where I've never felt even remotely compelled to skip any of the dialogue. I don't see any problems with the interface, either. It's true the graphics haven't aged well, but at least the cutscenes were not so reliant on animations.

Skeletor68
02-02-2012, 12:57 PM
I had a similar reverb problem on the voices. Fantastic game though, seriously stick with it. Buckets of atmosphere and a great story with some AMAZING scripted moments. You owe yourself to at least get to the hotel level...

Also, shameful to say, I have a weird attraction to the females in this. Doesn't usually happen to me in gaming.

Drake Sigar
02-02-2012, 01:00 PM
It took you an hour to skip the tutorial, watch a cutscene, and visit the cleavage lady? I'm going to assume most of that time was spent in the character editor.

Do the issues you have with the game get better? No. I was able to get over these things very quickly though, they appear to bother you more than any player I've ever encountered.

Vegard Pompey
02-02-2012, 01:00 PM
I'm not a huge fan of it myself, but it sounds like you're judging a game known for its writing on the voice acting and graphics.

I don't have a problem with the voice acting itself, but rather this weird effect on all the voices I've heard so far that makes them sound like crap. I find it baffling, as I do the decision to place the subtitles in the upper left corner.

Vegard Pompey
02-02-2012, 01:10 PM
It took you an hour to skip the tutorial, watch a cutscene, and visit the cleavage lady? I'm going to assume most of that time was spent in the character editor.

Oh, it was. As I said, I found the character creation screen immensely compelling, with all its options.


Do the issues you have with the game get better? No. I was able to get over these things very quickly though, they appear to bother you more than any player I've ever encountered.

This first hour of VTMB is one of the most uncomfortably strange gaming experiences I've ever had. Almost every individual aspect of the game seems wrong in some way. It had me wondering if it was intentional on the developer's behalf to evoke feelings of nausea as my character has just become a vampire. It had me watching LPs of the game to see if everything was working properly on my end. I am willing to try to get over my issues with the game but it better have damn good writing.

Kelron
02-02-2012, 01:11 PM
I don't remember where the subtitles were last time I played it, but I don't remember strange reverb effects. With the crackling sound you mentioned, I'd say you're having some problems there. Have you tried playing with different sound options in game or on your sound card?

Vegard Pompey
02-02-2012, 01:19 PM
I had a similar reverb problem on the voices. Fantastic game though, seriously stick with it. Buckets of atmosphere and a great story with some AMAZING scripted moments. You owe yourself to at least get to the hotel level...

Also, shameful to say, I have a weird attraction to the females in this. Doesn't usually happen to me in gaming.

Ah, I will be sure to give it another shot.


I don't remember where the subtitles were last time I played it, but I don't remember strange reverb effects. With the crackling sound you mentioned, I'd say you're having some problems there. Have you tried playing with different sound options in game or on your sound card?

I have and I don't think there's much that can be done. My soundcard is a misanthropic entity. But as I said, the crackling is sporadic and negligible.

I'm fairly certain the fishy effect I'm hearing on the voices is a part of the game. It can be heard in this let's play by FrozenFoxy (http://youtu.be/X03L6F7-3W8). (Opening cutscene starts about 5-6 minutes into the video)

Drake Sigar
02-02-2012, 01:20 PM
Oh, it was. As I said, I found the character creation screen immensely compelling, with all its options.
*Nods* I am unable to play through five minutes of Neverwinter Nights 2 without restarting and spending yet another productive hour on character creation.


I am willing to try to get over my issues with the game but it better have damn good writing.
It does. Bloodlines has no shortage of problems but achieves greatness in spite of them due to a level of immersion single-player RPG gamers can only dream of.

FunnyB
02-02-2012, 01:24 PM
The audio issue, I got it too, when I bought the game during the summer holiday sale on steam last year. But you can get rid of it, I know I managed to. There is some option that needs to be switched off in the audio options. Then the audio will be just fine!

Vegard Pompey
02-02-2012, 01:32 PM
The audio issue, I got it too, when I bought the game during the summer holiday sale on steam last year. But you can get rid of it, I know I managed to. There is some option that needs to be switched off in the audio options. Then the audio will be just fine!

Oh, turning off Environmental Effects did the trick! Thanks a lot.

Skeletor68
02-02-2012, 02:51 PM
Oh, turning off Environmental Effects did the trick! Thanks a lot.

Well damn, I went through 30 hours with the game with that problem the whole way through. Explained to my gf that it must be some weird vampire voice thing. Nevermind.

Giaddon
02-02-2012, 03:19 PM
Glad you found the solution! I love the voice acting in vampire. The "crazy hobo" who you meet at the beginning is one of my favorite characters in gamingdom, and his voice actor just nails it.

Lukasz
02-02-2012, 03:43 PM
Voice acting in Bloodlines is top notch.

anyhow
you said you teleport to your apartment after meeting Jack? Did you skip tutorial?

FunnyB
02-02-2012, 03:49 PM
Oh, turning off Environmental Effects did the trick! Thanks a lot.

I'm glad I could be of help! :D

Vegard Pompey
02-02-2012, 03:53 PM
anyhow
you said you teleport to your apartment after meeting Jack? Did you skip tutorial?

Yeah, I must've somehow skipped the tutorial by accident. :/ I restarted and got it this time.

Lukasz
02-02-2012, 04:05 PM
Cool. after doing a couple of hours of gameplay please tell us what you think about the game.

Revisor
02-02-2012, 04:06 PM
Apart from the intro subtitles being desynchronized, now that you have solved the strange reverb, start again, don't skip the tutorial and enjoy the greatness that is VTMB.

Sketch
02-02-2012, 05:49 PM
John DiMaggio does the voice of the hobo at the start. Bender/Marcus in a vampire game is awesome.

Vegard Pompey
02-02-2012, 06:24 PM
Okay. Now I know what went wrong.

The reverb made me find all dialogue annoying, so when Jack pestered me at the beginning of the game I didn't want anything to do with him and declined all his offers to help. Well I just started a new game and played through the tutorial and wow, does it give the game a much better start.

One question; is there any real point to specializing in unarmed combat instead of melee?

Heliocentric
02-02-2012, 06:27 PM
One question; is there any real point to specializing in unarmed combat instead of melee?

Feeding utilises you unarmed skill to eat unwilling and aware targets, but melee gets you katanas.

Dolphan
02-02-2012, 06:32 PM
A warning - I went pretty all-out for melee; make sure you have some alternatives (ranged weapons/combat disciplines). There are some enemies later on that you can't really go toe-to-toe with. Hacking your way through the vast majority with your katana is pretty fun though.

Vegard Pompey
02-02-2012, 06:33 PM
I figured melee would result in some cool weapons at some point. I already spent one point on Brawl, but I suppose if I switch to melee now I'll still have use of Brawl for the eat-the-unwilling ability.

Lukasz
02-02-2012, 07:17 PM
as a gangrel you have a discipline called protean. It uses brawl. It is very powerful if maxed and i beat the game using that as my main weapon seldom using firearms.
who are you playing?

Revisor
02-02-2012, 08:11 PM
Just a tip - don't put anything in any combat disciplines in the beginning.
You'll get much more fun out of persuasion (no seduction and intimidation needed), lockpicking and hacking.

The combat really starts to be important only later in the game.

Feldspar
02-02-2012, 09:02 PM
John DiMaggio does the voice of the hobo at the start. Bender/Marcus in a vampire game is awesome.

You can keep your masquerade, I'm gonna start my own, with blackjack and hookers!

vinraith
02-02-2012, 09:47 PM
None of the stuff you're complaining about gets better, no. I don't think most of it matters, either, but it definitely doesn't improve.

AlexisPius
03-02-2012, 04:22 AM
I'm probably focusing on the wrong thing here, but - Really? It took you an hour to do that stuff?

But anyways, next time, instead of wandering about after the tutorial, follow that giant bloodstain in front of your apartment.

Icarus
03-02-2012, 11:50 AM
I'm probably focusing on the wrong thing here, but - Really? It took you an hour to do that stuff?

But anyways, next time, instead of wandering about after the tutorial, follow that giant bloodstain in front of your apartment.


Preferably after checking the email on your apartment PC first to get the context of said bloodstain!

Lilliput King
03-02-2012, 12:24 PM
It doesn't exactly get better, though I think the tutorial is a bad way to judge it - like Deus Ex, it's a stronger experience when it opens up a bit. Also, the main strength of the thing is the atmosphere, so you've got to kind of give yourself to it in order to really enjoy it. So give it some time!

Porcupeth
03-02-2012, 12:55 PM
I love the voice acting in Deus Ex. It's one of the only voice-acted games where I've never felt even remotely compelled to skip any of the dialogue.

What.

10chars

JackShandy
03-02-2012, 01:05 PM
People are funny. I remember a guy extolling the virtues of the dialogue in Dark Souls! Hu hu hu hu hu.

Oshada
04-02-2012, 12:31 PM
Hu hu hu hu hu.

I see what you did there.

I hope the bad dialogue comes to the PC.

Muscle Horse
04-02-2012, 12:54 PM
I'd completely disagree with previous posts recommending you put a few points into firearms - later supernatural foes are pretty much immune to guns but everything takes huge damage from blades. It's a fantastic game. The only two true ways to play are Nosferatu and Malkavian.

Ritashi
04-02-2012, 01:54 PM
The game gets awesome actually pretty quick in, especially if you do the tutorial. Make sure you're not playing as Malkahvian or Nosferatu your first time through, those both have very different play experiences to everyone else.

One thing I love about this game is that you can pretty easily get through it without min-maxing your character sheet at all, so long as you're careful. There's so many things you want to improve, and there is always content that you're going to miss because of your stat choices - and conversely content that you are going to find because of those same choices. There are a few things to keep in mind, though.

First, notice that blood buff sets your physical attributes TO 5, it does not INCREASE them by 5. Therefore increasing your Dexterity will not improve your max lockpicking ability, and so it is not advisable to put many points in it. Strength can improve your damage with melee or unarmed but remember that if you do use blood buff in a fight you are essentially negating any points you have put into Strength. I would put more of your points into Stamina since you will often take damage when you do not have blood buff active. Manipulation is not useful, you should almost certainly dump this stat. Charisma and appearance improve Persuasion and Seduction, respectively. Seduction is primarily useful to get you free sources of blood in clubs, but it does open up a number of interesting dialogue options in the game as well. Persuasion can be extremely useful throughout the game. Intimidation is not often utilized, but it can be fun to use if you feel like it. Lockpicking and Hacking are two of the most valuable skills in the game; increase your security to get good lockpicking, but Wits are probably worth improving for Hacking, since they also improve your defense and only Auspex will increase them via magic. Hacking gives you access to some hilarious bits of writing, I would strongly recommend at least getting a few points in it. Although you are allowed to type the passwords in manually, so it is possible to figure out the passwords based on clues in the world or just straight-up guess them. Or *gasp* cheat and look them up online, although I would not recommend doing that. Research is a very useful stat to have, since it gives you access to books which can increase your other stats for free. Don't worry too much about your combat stats, if you're careful you can win early fights even with poor stats. Whether you should spend points on discipline depends strongly on your clan. Celerity is a great one at higher ranks (do be careful not to use this as a speed boost in Masquerade zones, past level 1 it's a violation). Thaumaturgy is obviously amazing. Other than those you can pretty much pick for yourself, it'll depend on what you want your character to be able to do. Note that the aura sight granted by auspex is pretty much useless to you (if you're familiar with WoD you can use the auras to figure out who's mortal or Kindred or something else, but that never really comes up), although it does brighten your screen while active. The Wits bonus is a nice hacking boost though.

fiddlesticks
04-02-2012, 03:24 PM
I'd completely disagree with previous posts recommending you put a few points into firearms - later supernatural foes are pretty much immune to guns but everything takes huge damage from blades.
While it's true that supernatural creatures take less damage from firearms (half I believe), the late game guns are so powerful that you'll completely obliterate everything regardless. Between the Spas-15 and the Steyr Aug most mooks drop in a matter of seconds and for bosses you've got the sniper weapons and the flamethrower. Also, having a ranged weapon is really useful in a game where most enemies don't.

Heliocentric
04-02-2012, 03:46 PM
Firearms or magic is needed for one of the end game bosses, who flies... Stupid Trokia.

fiddlesticks
04-02-2012, 03:54 PM
Well, actually (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEwDeIohwlw)... (huge spoilers, obviously)

vinraith
04-02-2012, 04:57 PM
Well, actually (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEwDeIohwlw)... (huge spoilers, obviously)

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

I had to cheat my way past that stupid fucking fight for exactly the reasons Helio outlined, I had no idea there was an alternative.